Media Monday: Project Runway and What Not to Wear

Labor Day is a holiday with a strange tradition in our family.

In 19 … 89? 90? we lived in Southern California and all of the Southland was gripped by a horrible heat wave. One similar to what they’ve experienced the last few weeks. Stud Muffin worked most holidays but for some reason he was off that day. We tried to do some sort of “family” activity. We went to a local park we hadn’t visited before. But it was so hot and miserable, we couldn’t have fun. The slide was too hot for the girls to use. All the equipment sizzled every time we touched it. We returned home and all of us got into the inflatable plastic pool for some relief. We had a water fight and cooled off and ended up in the living room under the air conditioning watching a movie.

NYC_Parsons_SchoolFast forward a decade or two. We were all living in different cities but somehow we were again gathered at our home on Labor Day during a heat wave. A Project Runway marathon was on. I’d never watched the show before, but somehow after hours of seeing designers agonize over unconventional fabrics, crazy design parameters, and short deadlines, I was hooked.

I’d seen America’s Next Top Model a time or two and didn’t love it (sorry, Will!), so I expected more of the same from Project Runway.

I was wrong. Project Runway is about the clothes. Not who’s wearing the outfit.

In my humble opinion, Project Runway and What Not to Wear are a perfect pair of fashion shows.

Project Runway spotlights high fashion, the avant garde, the crazy. What Not to Wear is for us people in the real world. WNTW isn’t filming new episodes, but for those us who were faithful viewers, we now know how to dress ourselves. We know to avoid pants with front pleats, and skin-tight stuff, and to emphasize the narrowest part of our bodies.

In 2011, we visited NYC as tourists. We stayed on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel in New Jersey and rode a shuttle bus into the city. The first morning, the bus let us out near Times Square. We looked around and the very first landmark I saw was the Parsons New School for Design, the home of the NY seasons. The next day, we walked by Bryant Park, home of many of what-not-to-wear-stacy-clintonthe NY Fashion Week runway shows.

A friend who visited NYC a few years earlier happened to see Stacy and Clinton from WNTW on the street filming an episode.

Another friend recently moved to NY and she’s constantly posting pictures of the style icons she spots.

Which means you can’t visit New York without seeing someone/something from the fashion world. It’s a given.

But until I make it back to there, I’ll make do with the current season of Project Runway (I’m on Team Ashley and Team Edmund) and reruns of What Not to Wear.